Oops, sorry. Still bitter. If either of those teams had won, I’d be going to Games 3 and 4, either for love or money. Wasn’t sure if one potential Texas Monthly column and some blogging would have gotten me a Stanley Cup credential, but judging by this story in the Globe and Mail, there might have been a few spots open in the press box:

Outside Pittsburgh and Detroit, only eight American dailies will staff the series from start to finish.

Representation by Canadian newspapers will be just as slim. Outside Toronto, the Vancouver Sun and Vancouver Province are the only major dailies sending reporters to the final, which will start tomorrow night…

Two leading dailies, The New York Times and Los Angeles Times, reversed earlier decisions not to cover the final, because the editors were intrigued by the Penguins-Wings matchup.

œIf hockey is to make a comeback and again take its place among the top four or five sports in our circulation area, it will be through series like this between two very interesting teams with dynamic, young players, Los Angeles Times sports editor Randy Harvey said in an e-mail message.

The other newspapers staffing the final are The Boston Globe, New York Post, The Denver Post, Denver’s Rocky Mountain News, USA Today and The Columbus Dispatch, which is a three-hour drive from Detroit and Pittsburgh.

The New York Daily News and The Washington Times will pick up the series after the first two games in Detroit. The Buffalo News will have a reporter at the games, except those on Saturdays, when deadlines are early.

The no-shows include The Washington Post and Newsday, the large, suburban Long Island daily, but the biggest surprise is the decision by the two Philadelphia dailies, the Inquirer and Daily News, not to attend.

– I’m guessing that also leaves out the Delaware County Times, where Anthony SanFilippo wrote on Thursday that Derian Hatcher “earned the captaincy for the Dallas Stars at 21,” then came back on Friday with a piece that said Hatcher “was named captain of the Dallas Stars when he was a green 20-year-old.” Which is right? Neither. He became captain in 1995, at the age of 23.

– You won’t find a more sensible piece of hockey writing than Stu Hackel’s Monday meditation in the Times’ “Slap Shot” blog about the way some fans (and journalists) say hockey’s “fixed”.

– Also enjoyed this bit of lightness on the Pens from SI’s Michael Farber:

As players settled in for the first flight of the 2006-07 exhibition season, instead of the standard pepperoni pizza or chicken fingers with French fries that had passed for nutrition on Pittsburgh charters — “carnival food,” Whitney called it — they were offered sushi appetizers, chicken and pasta, steak and potatoes, and a choice of water or a sports drink instead of beer. Whitney surveyed the gustatory bounty and yelled, “Hot damn, we’re in the NHL.”

Oregonian wiseguy Ryan White takes Fox Sports’ Mike Chen to task for saying that it’s fashionable to bash Sidney Crosby, which either means White really doesn’t follow hockey or he lives the sort of balanced, non-pathetic life that doesn’t include message boards (the only place I see the word “vagina” more than CSTB comment threads is when Flyers fans are posting about about “Cindy”). Sid’s about as popular as A-Rod, good, bad, envy-fueled or otherwise, and everybody knows it, including the aforementioned Stu Hackel:

Sidney Crosby remains the most maligned superstar in hockey, largely by fans of the teams he has dominated. They hate him.

I’ve even heard from fans who loathe the Pens and Wings so much that they won’t even bother watching which, according to the Wall Street Journal, is just typical behavior.

Hockey is tribal. NHL research shows 50% of NHL fans won’t watch the finals if their favorite team isn’t playing. Television ratings for hockey grow just 41% in the playoffs, while baseball’s grow 400%, and the NBA’s grow 135%.

Game on… unless you’re in Detroit and like the Pistons better, that is.